UK teenager leads team to World Drone Prix victory in Dubai

A team led by a 15-year-old British pilot has won the first ever World Drone Prix in Dubai.

Luke Bannister, from Somerset, and his team – Tornado X-Blades Banni UK – won a 250,000 dollar (£174,000) purse, part of one million dollars (£695,000) in prizes handed out in the inaugural edition of this race.

Luke Bannister licks his trophy (as you do) (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

(Kamran Jebreili/AP)

It involved four pilots sitting down at a time in racing-style seats with their eyes covered by goggles which allowed them to watch a feed from a camera on their drone.

The drones raced on a course behind them, zipping along a white track that occasionally reached up to pinch at the speeding aircraft for 12 laps with the skyscrapers of the Dubai Marina behind them.

Is this the future of racing? (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

The pilots wore white racing jumpsuits like in Formula One – but unlike in Formula One, racers have to worry about what is above and below them as they fly their drones.

Though Zachry Thayer, a 25-year-old pilot for Team Big Whoop of Fort Collins, Colorado said the onboard camera puts a racer into the action like nothing else.

The drones flew against a pretty impressive backdrop (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

Mohammad Al Gergawi (third left) has quite literally brought the future (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

A cabinet-level minister in the United Arab Emirates also announced the start of the World Future Sports Games in December 2017.

“We are trying to bring the future closer to us,” said Mohammed al-Gergawi, the United Arab Emirates minister for cabinet affairs.

And it seems he’s succeeded – as the contests next year will include robotic swimming, running, wrestling and car racing, as well as drone flying.

We’re not sure whether to be excited or scared.

 

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